What To Expect From Nintendo At E3 2021

Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

Got your crystal ball handy? Hope so, because Nintendo won’t be holding its traditional press event, Nintendo Direct, until Tuesday, June 15. Though that’s the final day of E3, this is probably going to be a last-but-not-least sort of scenario, because Nintendo’s widely expected to bring out some big guns for its post-covid return to the biggest video game expo in the world.

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When is Nintendo Direct at E3 2021? 

If you’d like to watch live on Tuesday, you can find the details on Nintendo’s E3 2021 landing page. The Nintendo Direct livestream starts at noon ET and will last around 40 minutes, after which the company’s traditional “Treehouse” stream will begin with familiar faces from Nintendo of America showing off in-depth gameplay from many of the just-announced games.

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That’s all in the future though; for now, here are some of our predictions (and yeah, just plain old wishes) about what we think Nintendo might end up showing on Tuesday.

Will Nintendo reveal a “Switch Pro”? 

The rumors have been running rampant for the better part of a year. If Nintendo has a new, 4K-capable Switch coming up, it’s one of the worst-kept secrets in gaming. The current scuttlebutt is that a so-called “Switch Pro” will have a 7-inch Samsung-made OLED display, 4K resolution, support for Nvidia DLSS (an image quality-boosting feature enjoyed by high-end Nvidia GPU owners), and (one hopes!) improved battery life. It feels like the question is less “does this exist?” and more “will Nintendo choose to unveil it during E3?” We’re guessing not. But we’ll tell you this, whenever it does, we’re not looking forward to the inevitable rush on pre-orders.

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It might be time for more Breath of the Wild 2

Back in February Zelda bossman Eiji Aonuma apologized for the lack of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 news in that month’s Direct, but suggested that more news could still come this year. Well, it’s still this year, and what better stage for a worldwide Zelda reveal than E3? Gosh, it’s been two years since Nintendo first revealed Breath of the Wild 2 in June of 2019. We’re overdue for something new on what may be the company’s most anticipated game.

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Maybe Mario, too?

The excellent Super Mario Odyssey is now firmly in the past, launching the same year as the Switch itself. More recently we saw Super Mario 3D World jump from Wii U to Switch and gain a wonderful new open-world mode called Bowser’s Fury. As fun as it was, it almost felt like a test run for something bigger...grander. Nintendo, if you wanna spill, we’re ready.

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That all said, the rumor going around last month was that the Super Mario Odyssey team was hip-deep into working on a totally new Donkey Kong game. Hmm. Honestly, we’d be pleased with either.

Please, kind sir, give us some Metroid

Nintendo’s super-anticipated Samus Aran sequel Metroid Prime 4 has had a rough time of it since its low-fanfare announcement back at E3 2017. In 2019 development “restarted” under Retro Studios, the wizards who made the original Metroid Prime trilogy such a success. Development starting over is rarely a good sign, but at least the game’s back home, and maybe it’s far enough along now to take a proper bow.

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There are also ongoing rumors of a 2D Metroid outing by MercurySteam, the studio that did that nifty Samus Returns remake on 3DS…

Bayonetta 3 seems a safe bet

Nintendo’s first lady of queerly stylish carnage is another 2017 holdout, having debuted during that year’s Game Awards. Back in January PlatinumGames bossman Hideki Kamiya suggested to VGC that some Bayonetta 3 news would land before the end of 2021, so odds are good E3 2021 might be this other tall lady’s time to shine.

Hey, wasn’t Pikmin 4 in development?

Yes, indeed. Shigeru Miyamoto himself confirmed Pikmin 4 was in the works way back in 2017. One wonders why we haven’t seen hide nor hair of it for four years now. Does he want this Pikmin to break the mold?

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Fire Emblem sure is popular these days, isn’t it?

You’re not wrong. Between all the well-received Fire Emblem games that keep flowing from Japan and all the sword dudes and dudettes running around in Smash, Western fans of Nintendo’s venerable tactical strategy series have been non-stop feasting. One recent rumor suggests that the Japan-only Super Famicom entry Genealogy of the Holy War could be next up for the Switch remake treatment, and is very far along to boot. We may know soon.

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Would it be an E3 Nintendo Direct without a new Smash character announcement?

Absolutely not, which is why we’ll probably see one. Got any guesses? Doomguy, Rayman, Crash Bandicoot, Master Chief...hell, maybe Goku. It really could be anyone.

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We’ll probably get updates on a lot of other games we already know...

Among the high- and mid-profile games we’re likely to see more of are Splatoon 3, Mario Golf Super Rush, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, the Pokémon remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and whatever the heck Project Triangle Strategy ends up being titled.

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...And see a ton of totally new stuff no one’s ever heard of, too

That almost goes without saying. Nintendo’s great at casually surprising everyone with some great new hotness we didn’t know we wanted, which is half the fun of watching a Direct. So a few surprises come Tuesday are a certainty. So get hype! ...In a sort of nondescript, unfocused way. Hooray!

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